It’s getting to be that time of the year…
You know what I am referring to…will I be the first to say it? The Holidays! If you are over 10 years old, I think it is safe to say that you look upon “the holidays” as a time of joy, as well as a time of stress. The added expense, the pressure, the rush, the excitement and often our unrealistic expectations can leave us physically and emotionally drained.
One way to cope with the stresses of the holiday season is by practicing mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
There are many explanations, but one of the simplest ways to explain is that mindfulness means living in the moment. Mindfulness is the opposite of multitasking – which is what the holiday season is about for many of us. With all of the hustle and bustle, it can be very hard to focus our attention on the present moment and appreciate everything – and everyone – around us.
Here are a few simple ways to help us be more mindful through the holidays, and everyday:
Try to identify one thing each day to be thankful for. Keep a personal journal or share your gratitude on social media. This can help bring our minds to the present moment and appreciate what we have and the truly important things in our lives.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
What if you don’t look forward to the holidays? Maybe you lost a loved one or cannot be with your family. It is natural to feel sad or disappointed – don’t pass judgement on yourself. Allow yourself to have those feelings in that moment and to be compassionate with yourself.
Accept People for Who They Are
Maybe, you are just the opposite and would prefer not to spend time with your family! It’s true…conflicts and dysfunction are actually heightened at this time of the year. Accept that people may not act the way to expect them to or that events many not go off as planned. You don’t necessarily have to resign yourself to the fact that things never go as planned, but don’t allow yourself to focus on your opinions, judgments and desire to do things differently.
If family or financial problems overwhelm you during the holidays, it’s easy to think you’re the only one struggling. Having compassion for others makes it easier to think about all the good things in your life.
Don’t Overextend Yourself
This can cover so many things that end up stressing us out over the holidays. Stop striving for perfection – whether its finding the perfect gift or hosting the perfect party. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Maybe you bit off a little more than you bargained for by volunteering to host your family for the holidays. Don’t be bashful about asking for help, many would be thrilled to help out. And definitely don’t overextend financially. Why extend the holiday stress into the new year when a large credit card bill arrives? Always remember it’s the thought that counts, and not the monetary value of the gifts that you give.
When you stay mindful of the many wonderful things the season has to offer, you’ll experience less stress and be able to truly enjoy the holidays!
“Meditation” and “mindfulness” are buzzwords these days for good reason. Yogis have been practicing meditation for millennia. Find a quiet place and listen to this guided practice to quiet your mind and make meditation part of your modern daily life.